Another major Silicon Valley company is getting serious about Silicon Beach.

Social media company Twitter Inc. signed a five-year lease last month for the full use of a nearly 17,000-square-foot building on Main Street in Santa Monica. The company has occupied a small temporary space in the area since opening an L.A. outpost in 2011.

The technology company, which now has about 25 employees in Los Angeles, is expected to move into its new office at 1916 Main St. by June.

The single-story building with bow-truss ceiling and skylights sits just a block from the beach. The space was formerly occupied by ad agency Kastner & Partners, which moved in December to Playa Vista to be near other prominent agencies.

The building, which was marketed for lease by commercial real estate brokerage Lee & Associates, advertised the space for $4.75 a square foot a month, valuing the lease at about $4.8 million. The 50 parking spaces at the site were marketed for an additional $150 each a month.

Tibor Lody, a principal in the West L.A. office for Lee, said Twitter plans to use the office for sales and marketing purposes after building it out to suit its needs. Lody represented the landlord in the lease deal, along with Aleks Trifunovic and Keith Fielding, also of Lee. L.A. billionaire Don Hankey’s Hankey Investment Co. has owned the property since 2002.

“They’re going to go in and modify the building, and the landlord is doing some shell and core upgrades,” Lody said. “I think overall this was a good deal for both the landlord and Twitter. Both parties were really happy with the transaction.”

Derek Johnson, a managing director for Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. in Palo Alto, represented Twitter in the deal.

Grammy Grab

A vacant Santa Monica office building, once headquarters for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, has sold for $18.5 million.

The three-story “Grammy” building at 3402 Pico Blvd. and an adjacent 1.2-acre lot sold to West L.A. real estate investment trust Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. in an all-cash deal that closed Feb. 28.

Dallas developer Trammell Crow Co. and equity partner Westport Capital Partners of Wilton, Conn., announced last week that they had sold the property after buying it in 2010. The sellers had originally planned to demolish the 41,000-square-foot building designed by the late architect William Pereira and construct 260 residential units. The plans proved unpopular with the community, especially given the property’s proximity to the 10 freeway.

The sellers put the property on the market last summer without a listing price, and Hudson Pacific was in escrow for 45 days beginning in early January.

Greg Ames, a managing director in Trammell Crow’s L.A. office, said the company adjusted lot lines and zoning to improve the property before selling.

“This was a textbook acquisitions strategy on both ends,” he said. “We acquired a property, worked hard with the community and the city to solve the real estate problems, and then transacted it to a local property owner who valued our solutions.”

Hudson Pacific plans to renovate and lease the Class B office building, then possibly develop additional office or multifamily space on the adjacent land should zoning changes go into effect later this year, according to CoStar Group Inc.

Jeff Pion, Blake Mirkin and Michelle Esquivel of CBRE Group Inc. represented the buyer and seller in the deal.

Asset Launch

A second L.A. real estate crowdfunding website launched last week and has already closed its first deal for early investors.

Asset Avenue, founded by 30-year-old entrepreneur David Manshoory, raised $485,000 from online investors in less than 48 hours. The money was used to buy a commercial real estate loan on an office condominium in New York’s Trump Palace – the tallest building on the Upper East Side of the city.

Asset Avenue, headquartered on Robertson Boulevard between Beverly Hills and Culver City, joins Beverly Hills company Realty Mogul in the L.A. real estate crowdfunding space. Both companies provide online opportunities for smaller investors to participate in real estate deals. Accredited investors must have an annual income of at least $200,000 or a net worth of at least $1 million.

Manshoory said he wanted to differentiate his crowdfunding company from others by focusing on deal quality over quantity. Asset Avenue investors must contribute a minimum of $10,000 at a time, twice the $5,000 requirement of Realty Mogul.

“This loan resembles the types of investments we want to bring to the website going forward,” he said. “The commercial real estate market is so large, and the opportunity is so tremendous, I think we’re barely scratching the surface of what’s possible.”

Staff reporter Bethany Firnhaber can be reached at or (323) 549-5225, ext. 235.

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